It seems to me that all of our lives as human beings, we spend a lot of our time combating our inherent mammalness. All mammals have hair, but we shave it in strategic places on our bodies based on the dictates of society. The name “mammal” is derived from the Latin mammalis, which translates to “of the breast”. We are the only mammals that don’t feed our offspring with exclusively mother’s milk. Mammals also have specialized glands in their skin that no other animals have. For one, for the production of oils, to lubricate and protect the aforementioned mammalian hair, as well as scent glands for the production of a variety of odors for chemical communication purposes. Cosmetics companies have made fortunes by making products to indulge our tendencies to not want to be oily, smelly, or hairy, as our wild mammalian counterparts are.
I look at pregnancy as an opportunity to embrace my natural mammalness, with minimal social stigma.
Well, partly. The hairy part. I am still not a fan of oily skin or being smelly. My deodorant and the suite of shower gels, bar soaps, and shampoos in my arsenal still get full use during my pregnancies.
This will be my second pregnancy where the second and third trimesters span the duration of the summer. Pumpkin was born in September (which, in the South, is like mid-July in the midwest, for those of you reading from my home state of Ohio), and this baby is due in August (which, in the South, is like what I’d imagine the planet Mercury’s summer months to be like, for those of you reading from anywhere else in the country). My odor-blasting cosmetics arsenal gets a mighty workout.
Anyway, as far as my legs are concerned, right now, I don’t even have the excuse that I can’t reach my legs. I still have full range of motion, and while it is starting to become a bit uncomfortable when I have to bend at the waist for long periods of time, it isn’t impossible. I really don’t have a physical reason for not keeping my legs shaved. In reality, it is just because I am inherently lazy, and will really take any excuse I can to unleash my Bohemian tendencies. And honestly, why should my legs be smoother than my 17-month-old daughter’s?
Despite this, I still shave my legs before my routine prenatal appointments. I can’t explain why. My legs aren’t even exposed. Despite my resistance, I’m still indoctrinated in the Western concept of what it means to be feminine. Minimize the hair! Remember the uproar it caused when Julia Roberts went to some Hollywood shindig with hairy armpits? I’m certain the doctor wouldn’t care even if there was a prickle of leg-hair against her arm or hand.
So at least until mid-August, I feel like I have a free pass from conforming to societal norms regarding the status of the hair on my legs. At least partially. I’ll still have a date with my Flirty Mango and Olive Oil shave gel and Venus razor at least once a month.
At least, up until I can’t reach my legs any more.